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View Full Version : On the Dell 9400/E1705 how can you tell if its the motherboard or video card ?


NYJimbo
03-13-2010, 04:44 AM
I posted this on a laptop forum but so far no help over there so I thought I would try here as well:

I got a Dell Inspiron 9400/E1705 here that will not boot. The owner said he put into hibernate and went home, when he came in and turned it back on it was sluggish for about 10 minutes, he powered it off and then it would not power back up.

When you turn on the power the power and HD lights come on, you hear what sounds like the HD doing some movement and then it shuts down in a few seconds.

I removed the HD, ram, dvd, wifi, modem and tested it with same results. Also took out the CMOS battery to try to reset the BIOS and put it all back together and same thing.

CPU fan does not spin at all on power up, not sure if this model is supposed to do that little 5 second thing most of them do.

No beeps, nothing on the screen, etc.

Is there a way to determine if its the motherboard OR the video card, as this has a discrete video card, not integrated. Would you get any kind of system response if the video card was dead but the motherboard/cpu was ok ?. I would rather replace one and not both if I can tell which to go after first. Normally in a integrated system I would just go for the motherboard replacement at this point but there must be some way to determine which is the problem on a mobo that has a plug-in video card. I dont have a "spare" video card sitting around, they cost $250 or so for this model.

thanks for any ideas or advice.

OnSiteSolutions
03-13-2010, 04:53 AM
Have you booted without the video card to see if it beeps or if there is any change?

NYJimbo
03-13-2010, 04:54 AM
Have you booted without the video card to see if it beeps or if there is any change?

Its a total tear down to get to that and then a partial rebuild to make it at all functional even without the card so I was hoping to avoid it until tomorrow or if I got an response today.

OnSiteSolutions
03-13-2010, 05:03 AM
I dont know if this info will help, as the problem is tough to call. However, I have an acer laptop with integrated invidia graphics. The graphics suffers from bga solder/overheating issue and it goes out from time to time and I have to use a heat gun on the chip to get it on again.
>Sometimes when it dies, it does exactly as you describe in your post.
>However, other times, the computer will completely boot into windows (as I hear the start windows audio sound) but there is no video.
>Sometimes it will give no video bios beeps and stay at bios with no video.

So there are 3 different modes of failure, all caused by video problem,
and one of them seems like motherboard (no beep, no boot, no video).
Since mine in onboard video, I am comparing apples to oranges, but I think it says this is tough to call if you only get the one symptom.

NYJimbo
03-13-2010, 05:09 AM
I dont know if this info will help, as the problem is tough to call. However, I have an acer laptop with integrated invidia graphics. The graphics suffers from bga solder/overheating issue and it goes out from time to time and I have to use a heat gun on the chip to get it on again.
>Sometimes when it dies, it does exactly as you describe in your post.
>However, other times, the computer will completely boot into windows (as I hear the start windows audio sound) but there is no video.
>Sometimes it will give no video bios beeps and stay at bios with no video.

So there are 3 different modes of failure, all caused by video problem,
and one of them seems like motherboard (no beep, no boot, no video).
Since mine in onboard video, I am comparing apples to oranges, but I think it says this is tough to call if you only get the one symptom.

Thanks for the tip but the whole BGA issue is old school to me, I've been dealing with this stuff for a long time, helping people with the whole DELL/HP extended warrantee returns, even got involved in reflows, XBOX crap, studying white papers on lead free vs. leaded solder in BGA, etc..

I'm just trying to see if there is a way to isolate the failure without having to literally pulling the video card OR replacing it. Its not like a desktop, they had to go and bury this thing all the way inside under everything and on top of that you cant just stick a cheapo in there, its got to be a high end card costing alot more than I am willing to dish out just for testing a laptop once every few months when one like this comes in.

B Trevathan
03-13-2010, 09:22 AM
I used Google (grin) and found this, it sounds similar, they still had the problem after changing the MB, turned out to be the CPU, maybe your CPU got cooked without the fan turning or maybe it is a short in the fan itself, if the fan has a short it should shutdown it a few seconds.

http://www.notebookforums.com/thread226137.html
My inspiron 9400 will not boot. The only functions I can see is the battery light comes on when plugged in to indicate that it is charging, and when I press the power button the power light comes on for 5 seconds then goes off, thats it. I thought this problem was the board earlier, so I replaced it with a tested motherboard and am having the same problem. I have also tried booting with just AC adapter and just battery, no change. Right now my only idea is the CPU, is this feasible? Can somebody help me with this?

Also found these:

Remove the HDD>Optical Drive>Memory>Battery,now hit and hold down the Power Button and the fn key for 10 seconds,if at least 2 of the LED's are SOLIDLY lit up,you have a faulty MOBO.If you have ALL LED lights lit,the GPU and MOBO are faulty.

---------------------------------------------

On that laptop the num lock caps lock and scroll lock flash for post codes

---------------------------------------------

NYJimbo
03-13-2010, 01:04 PM
I used Google (grin) and found this, it sounds similar, they still had the problem after changing the MB, turned out to be the CPU, maybe your CPU got cooked without the fan turning or maybe it is a short in the fan itself, if the fan has a short it should shutdown it a few seconds.

http://www.notebookforums.com/thread226137.html
My inspiron 9400 will not boot. The only functions I can see is the battery light comes on when plugged in to indicate that it is charging, and when I press the power button the power light comes on for 5 seconds then goes off, thats it. I thought this problem was the board earlier, so I replaced it with a tested motherboard and am having the same problem. I have also tried booting with just AC adapter and just battery, no change. Right now my only idea is the CPU, is this feasible? Can somebody help me with this?

Also found these:

Remove the HDD>Optical Drive>Memory>Battery,now hit and hold down the Power Button and the fn key for 10 seconds,if at least 2 of the LED's are SOLIDLY lit up,you have a faulty MOBO.If you have ALL LED lights lit,the GPU and MOBO are faulty.

---------------------------------------------

On that laptop the num lock caps lock and scroll lock flash for post codes

---------------------------------------------

Thanks, I saw all of that but neither of these worked as they claim so it doesnt help me. In the first one he just reseats the cpu, which we already tried. In the second we dont get 2 or all, we get three. As to the post codes it only blinks them when we remove the ram, which tells me that something is alive but doesnt mean the whole board is working or that the GPU is to blame.

NYJimbo
03-13-2010, 05:44 PM
I was able to take out the GPU and test the machine, same results.

The last thing I tried was to simply apply a 9-volt battery directly to the CPU fan and it spins right up, tried it several times and each time spins up and after removing power spins very smoothly so its not the fan.

Gonna go with the idea its a dead mobo for now.

B Trevathan
03-13-2010, 10:00 PM
Yeah it does sound like the motherboard.

On the post codes if all three blink that is the motherboard, if no RAM is installed the num and scroll blink.

You did check the power jack of course, where it connects to board could it not be getting a good ground or power connection?

NYJimbo
03-14-2010, 03:07 AM
You did check the power jack of course, where it connects to board could it not be getting a good ground or power connection?

Dc jacks are my life, yes I checked. :p

NYJimbo
03-20-2010, 05:41 PM
Just a follow up. Replaced the mobo and its fine now. The CPU and GPU fans were packed with dust and the fins of the coolers were also stuffed.

The guy originally claimed it was cold when the thing died but then tells me a few days later that the cpu temp program was showing very high temps. Idiot.

Nice to know the CPU and video card could take that much heat but only the mobo died.

jscx93
03-20-2010, 10:32 PM
I bet it had an Nvidia card on it....

The hp dv6000s, certain 7xxx series alienware laptops, compaq cq series, gateway mt series and anything that has an nvidia 6100/6150/7xxx series cards run very hot.

The Dv6000s die all the time due to this issue (if the bios isn't updated to preemptively turn the fans on at a lower temp) due to the GPU chip actually melting itself off of the board. You can tell by it either coming on and just simply no video, if it comes on for a few seconds and shuts itself right back off, or if it comes on and does absolutely nothing but runs a fan loudly.

BUT THERE IS A FIX! So SAVE the boards, I'm currently 5 for 5 using these unorthodox methods... but it is typing this thread response currently!

Bake it in the oven.

jscx93
03-20-2010, 10:33 PM
I have an entire log but I'm new and need to get more post count lol